You can’t play golf without golf balls, but you can play better with the right golf balls. New innovations in technology have resulted in golf balls that soar higher, longer and faster than ever before, making golf balls just as important as clubs when it comes to getting the most out of your game. Choosing golf balls requires you to understand your swing and overall skill level, but Pronto’s Golf Ball Buying Guide will get you started by explaining what’s new on the links.
Golf balls come in four basic models: one-piece, two-piece, three-piece and four-piece. Two- and three-piece golf balls are the best choice for practice and casual play. Golfers in tournaments should be sure that the golf balls they choose conform to USGA standards.
Golf ball cores come in solid and liquid varieties. Solid core golf balls offer more distance while liquid core golf balls offer more spin and control.
Surlyn covers are the most durable while Balata covers provide a softer feel. Golf balls have between 300 and 500 dimples molded into their surface. Dimples don’t affect distance as much as club speed.
The firmness, or compression, of a golf ball affects distance and spin. Choose firm golf balls for distance and soft golf balls for the greatest control. Mid-feel golf balls are the best choice for beginners and intermediates, as the balance of distance and spin will reveal the elements of your game.
High-spin golf balls are the best choice for those who need to control hooks and slices. Low-spin golf balls deliver the most distance but are the hardest to control. Mid-spin balls are good for general use and allow you to favor either distance or control.
A material made from the sap of Balata trees and used in golf ball covers. Balata grips the club on impact, providing better control, but it’s softness makes it vulnerable to scratches and cuts. Balata is often mixed with other materials to enhance its durability.
The amount of give in a golf ball when it is struck with a club. Low-compression golf balls are harder and offer greater distance, while high-compression golf balls provide less distance and more control.
The material used in the center of a golf ball. Cores are made from rubber, synthetic polymers or liquid.
The indentations on the cover of a golf ball. The number of dimples on a golf ball ranges from 300 to 500 and different dimple patterns can affect the spin of a ball.
The hardness or softness of a golf ball when it is struck. Golf balls that feel hard usually fly farther and golf balls that feel soft are easier to control.
A section of material used in golf-ball construction. Single-layer golf balls are made from one type of material, while two-, three- and four-layer balls have inner cores that are coated or wrapped.
The amount of rotation that a golf ball can produce when it is hit above or below its center. High-spin balls provide the greatest control while low-spin golf balls offer the greatest distance.
A synthetic resin developed by DuPont that is commonly used in golf ball covers.
Golf balls may look alike on the outside, but what’s inside determines how much control and distance you’ll get from each swing. The construction of a golf ball affects the way the ball will react when you hit it with a club. There are four main types of golf balls: one-piece, two-piece, three-piece and four-piece.
One-piece golf balls have the most basic designs and are generally used by beginners and on driving ranges. These golf balls are generally made from a solid piece of Surlyn resin, a compound that can be altered to maximize either hardness or flexibility. One-piece golf balls are durable and inexpensive, but they do not give the user much distance because they have low compression. One-piece golf balls are seldom used in games.
Two-piece golf balls have a solid core that is covered with a thin layer of Surlyn. These golf balls enhance distance and are durable, making them a good choice for practicing and casual games.
Three-piece golf balls enhance backspin and the golfer’s control. They generally have a solid rubber or liquid core surrounded by a layer of enhanced rubber and a cover of durable Surlyn. Three-piece golf balls are softer and allow for a higher spin rate than two-piece models. Intermediate and advanced golfers should choose these golf balls for competitive play.
Four-piece golf balls are a recent development. Though they are less common on the course, they are considered the golf balls of the future. Each layer of these high-tech golf balls has a different purpose, and together the layers offer the longest flight and softest feel available. The innermost layer of a four-piece golf ball is its inner core, which is made from solid rubber that maximizes flight distance. This core is wrapped by the inner cover, which is built to transfer energy from the club to the inner core. The middle cover is an additional layer that delivers enhanced driving distance, mid-iron spin and better feel around the green. The outer cover of these golf balls is a thin coating generally made from urethane.
Some new technologies have improved golf balls to the point where an unskilled player can achieve amazing results, which has drawn the attention of the United States Golf Association (USGA). If you’re playing for fun, there’s no reason not to experiment with new golf balls. Competitive players, however, need to make sure that the balls they use in tournaments conform to USGA guidelines.
The core of a golf ball affects its potential flight distance and responsiveness to spin. In general, you’ll need to choose between golf balls that give you greater driving distance and less control or golf balls that won’t drive as far, but give you greater control and response to spin.
Golf ball cores come in two main types: solid and liquid. Solid cores are typically made of rubber and offer more distance. Liquid-filled golf ball cores offer more feel and spin for greater accuracy.
Golf balls with harder centers can be hit farther than soft-centered balls, but you’ll lose the spin you need for putting and precise chip shots. One way to balance distance and control is to look for golf balls with hard cores that are balanced by outer layers that yield for a better feel. Wound construction, where the core was wrapped by rubber thread, is disappearing, but several types of golf balls strive to deliver a similar feel.
The cover of a golf ball affects its feel on softer hits like putts and chips. Surlyn golf balls provide the best distance and durability and the least spin. Balata-covered golf balls are softer and have a better feel, but they get nicked and scratched easily, which throws off aerodynamics.
The dimples of a golf ball are molded into the cover of a ball. A golf ball generally has between 300 and 500 dimples. Generally, larger dimples increase trajectory and smaller dimples lessen trajectory, but the number of dimples has less of an effect on distance than your club speed.
Compression is the measure of a golf ball’s give, which determines its feel. Players prefer different levels of firmness, depending on their swing.
Firm golf balls feel hard when they contact the club. The harder the golf ball, the more explosive the hit and the farther your golf ball can travel. People who value distance should consider these golf balls, which are the most durable.
Mid-feel golf balls are best for beginners and intermediates. These golf balls balance distance and spin and can help you determine which areas of your golf game need work.
Most professionals prefer soft golf balls. These balls have the greatest sensitivity to spin, which allows for precise ball placement and putting. Soft golf balls can also reduce slices and hooks, but you won’t get as much distance and the fragile design means these balls need to be replaced more often.
Low-spin golf balls decrease side spin and allow for a straighter trajectory. Though the ball may not travel as far, the lack of spin will increase its roll once it lands. These golf balls are suited to players that slice the ball and struggle with distance.
Mid-spin golf balls are good for a wide range of players and skill levels. You’ll get more distance from mid-spin balls and you’ll find a variety of spin sensitivities, allowing you to choose golf balls that give you the best balance for your game.
High-spin golf balls maximize backspin and add spin to every shot. The greater control is ideal for those who tend to hook or slice, but you’ll need more power and club speed on your drives to shoot for distance.